The Just and the Unjust:
An Abomination to Each Other
An unjust man is an abomination to the just:
and he that is upright in the way is abomination to the wicked.
1. Here we have a simple proverb that speaks to the degree of antagonism between the just and the unjust.
2. Solomon is contrasting two different kinds of men: just and unjust.
3. The just man is one who has been justified by faith, like father Abraham. (Gen. 15:6)
4. The unjust man is an unrighteous man who has not been justified by faith.
5. It is essentially a contrast of a believer and an unbeliever.
a. In the Old Testament, an individual was either saved or lost—just as today.
b. However, the concept of salvation was not as fully revealed in those days as it is today.
c. Often the contrast between the two was seen in their manner of life.
d. This is true today too. The book of James teaches this. If a man has genuine faith, then it will result in good deeds—a transformed lifestyle.
6. Thus, the contrast in our proverb is also between the two different kinds of lifestyles that result from being justified or not.
a. A just man leads a righteous life. His life is characterized by justice, and right behavior.
b. An unjust man leads an unrighteous life. He does not do things the right way. He is unjust and unrighteous in his walk and lifestyle.
An unjust man is an abomination to the just:
1. In the first part of the proverb, Solomon speaks about the attitude of the believer towards the unbeliever: he is an abomination!
a. This is exceedingly harsh language.
b. The term translated “abomination” means that which is especially repulsive, detestable, or abhorrent.
c. Certain actions were called “abominable” in the Old Testament, such as idolatry (Isa. 41:24), homosexual behavior (Lev. 18:22), child sacrifice (Deut. 12:31), and even eating unclean foods (Deut. 14:3).
d. Thus, to say that an unjust man is an “abomination” to the just is using particularly harsh language.
e. The unjust man is detestable to the just man. The godly love righteousness and hate iniquity. (Heb. 1:9a)
2. I understand Solomon to mean here that it is the unjust behavior of the unjust man that is the abomination.
a. As we mentioned earlier, the “unjust” man is a man whose life is characterized by injustice or unrighteousness.
b. In other words, it speaks of an unbeliever… and in particular, his unrighteous manner of life.
c. The unjust behavior of an unjust man might include the following:
• A life characterized by dishonesty
• A life characterized by drunkenness
• A life characterized by immorality
• A life characterized by lying
• A life characterized by theft
• A life characterized by bigotry
• A life characterized by gossip
• A life characterized by foul language
• A life characterized by sin in general
3. An unjust man (a life characterized by sin) is an abomination to the just (a man justified by faith).
a. There will always be conflicts between the two. This is a conflict as old as the hills.
b. Those who are trying to do things the right way will always detest those who are trying to cheat, cut corners, and be dishonest.
c. It is a conflict between light and darkness, right and wrong, morality and immorality, virtue and vice, the just and the unjust.
d. Those who seek to maintain law and order detest those who seek to undermine law and order.
e. Those who seek to honor God and His Word detest the actions of those who seek to reject God and His Word.
f. Those who seek to uphold standards of decency in society detest those who seek to destroy all standards of decency.
g. Believers who seek to lead “a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” will abhor the behavior of those who seek to undercut them and bring on persecution (I Tim. 2:1-2).
4. We have all been irritated by the behavior of ungodly and unjust men in the world—and in the church!
a. In the church, we are commanded to reject their fellowship if they refuse to repent.
b. But God did not give the church any authority in the world—not until the Kingdom comes.
c. Today, we have to deal with this kind of injustice and unrighteousness day by day.
d. It is part of life in a cursed earth. We expect it. We suffer through it. We are sometimes hurt by it. There may be nothing we can do about it, but just endure it. We seek to stay away from it and not become entangled in it or contaminated by it.
e. But as long as it exists, the believer still detests it.
f. This is just a fact of life that Solomon lays out for us.
And he that is upright in the way is abomination to the wicked
1. There is another fact of life in this proverb: that the believer is equally detested by the unbeliever.
2. And again, it is our behavior that they detest.
a. They don’t care if we believe—as long as we don’t LIVE what we believe.
b. The world doesn’t persecute every believer… only those who LIVE GODLY in Christ Jesus. (II Tim. 3:12)
c. If our behavior is like that of the world, then the world won’t hate us. The carnal Christian is not detestable to the world, only the spiritual believer.
d. I Cor. 2:15 – “But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.” The world cannot understand the spiritual man. Therefore, the world hates us. We don’t fit in with their system. They detest the spiritually minded man who LIVES his faith.
e. John 7:7 – The world detested Jesus Christ: “The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.”
f. The world doesn’t care if we believe; as long as we don’t speak up; as long as we keep silent and keep our beliefs to ourselves.
3. Jesus put it this way: “every one that doeth evil hateth the light.”
a. John 3:20 – Darkness hates the light because light exposes darkness.
b. And yet, that is exactly the reason why God put us here in the world – to shine in the midst of darkness… that others might come to the light.
c. A few will come, but for the most part, darkness hates the light; or to use Solomon’s expression, “he that is upright in the way is abomination to the wicked.”
4. The Bible is pretty clear: the unsaved world hates the godly believer. Our lifestyle and values are an abomination to them.
a. There is a clear line of demarcation between the two.
b. James 4:4 – “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”
c. Luke 6:26 – “Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.”
d. They won’t speak well of us. They detest godly behavior.
e. This is an ancient resentment. Light exposes darkness and the darkness hates anything that shines a light on them.
5. This is one of the reasons for the great divide in our country at this point in our history.
a. Our country, its morals, and its culture are changing.
b. Years ago, everyone was pretty much agreed that we are a nation built on Judeo-Christian values. That resulted in relative unity. There have always been disagreements on issues, but on our core values, there was much agreement. It went without saying.
c. But that is not the case anymore. The Judeo-Christian values upon which our nation was built is no longer the unwritten law of the land. It is being challenged and rejected… piecemeal.
d. Today, progressives and conservatives have very different value systems.
• While some of the differences are just economic and political, other differences are social and moral matters.
• On some of these values there really is no room for compromise:
» The role of husband and wife
» The gay lifestyle
» Spanking children
» The abortion issue
• Our country is divided on these issues—issues that cannot be compromised democratically.
• There is no half way point on the issue of abortion for those who believe it is taking an innocent life.
• There is no compromise on the gay lifestyle. The Bible calls it an abomination. The believer can never put his stamp of approval on the lifestyle and accept it as “good.”
• There is no agreement on the role of the husband and wife. The Bible is clear that the husband is the head of the household—and the world hates that view.
e. The nation has been in agreement on these vital moral issues right from its beginning. But that is now changing.
f. There is a massive movement in our land to change our morals and values.
• Why? Because “he that is upright in the way is abomination to the wicked.”
• Because liberals are pushing so hard on these issues, it has created a huge divide that is seen in the way Congress functions.
• There is a growing movement of people who HATE what we stand for… what we believe… the way we live.
• We are the only obstacle in their way—and they hate us.
• I expect that to intensify in our day and to diminish in the next generation. Why diminish? Because by then, our views will be considered archaic and evil.
• Isa. 5:20 – “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness.”
• Those who stand for the values that built this nation are called “evil.”
• To prove it, just try this:
» In a conversation at the office, just try mentioning that you believe the husband is the head of the wife and the wife is to submit to him. You will experience Proverbs 29:27.
» Try stating your belief that an unwed couple living together are living in sin and “whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” You will experience Proverbs 29:27.
» Try stating that homosexuality is sin and a perverted lifestyle. You too will experience Proverbs 29:27.
• You will be considered “evil” to be so bigoted and judgmental. You will be detested—an abomination in their sight.
6. The principle of Proverbs 29:27 has been true since the fall.
a. But it is intensifying in our generation. Things are changing.
b. We need to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might – we need to be strengthened with might in the inner man to be able to face these changes and stand in the evil day.
c. The more Christianity is removed from our national conscience, the more abominable we will be in the eyes of the world.
d. But not to fear—what matters is what God thinks of us.
e. Mal. 3:16-17 – “Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. 17And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels.”